Posted 04/30/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC 172: Jon Jones is Finally the Villain He’s Meant to Be

UFC champion Jon Jones is no longer fake.

That word—”fake”—has stuck to Jones for much of his career as the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, partly as a result of trash talk from Rashad Evans and mostly from Jones’ own actions outside the cage.

As a Bible-thumping Christian with ironic image problems, “Bones” Jones is a forgettable persona despite all of his natural gifts.

But as the smack-talking, fan-rage-baiting, alleged homophobe troll king of the mixed martial arts world, Jones has embraced his natural bad guy, his inner heel, his true villainy.

In a word, it’s glorious.

Jon Jones is going to do this all he wants, and you can’t do anything about it. (H/T MiddleEasy)

Although UFC president Dana White likes to compare a relatively unknown 135-pound fighter to pay-per-view king Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the reality is that this more sinister version of Jon Jones is closer to Mayweather than just about anyone else on the UFC roster, with the probable exception of Ronda Rousey.

For the most part, boxing fans around the world love or hate Mayweather, a literal violent crime convict.

But the genius self-promoter that he’s become, Floyd is a master at riling up both the supporters and haters that fuel his multi-million dollar lifestyle.

Money-wise, Jones isn’t there yet. But in terms of proportional fan hatred, he’s getting there.

In the aftermath of his complete domination over “a legit threat” in poor Glover Teixeira, people should mostly be talking about Jones’ brilliant technique, insane fight I.Q., and mid-combat poise.

And yet, that all took a back seat to Jones’ “bad-guy” antics.

It’s simply brilliant. Jones riles up fans on Twitter and Instagram, bringing heat into his fights. And then, in the middle of fighting, he makes fans hate him all over again due to his aggressive, dirty tactics.

About the only thing more entertaining than Jones’ dominance is the hand-wringing that comes with it:

What makes it even better is that Jones doesn’t even have to do all those sneaky tricks: fingers in the face, push-kicks to the knees, elbows in the throat, and so on.

But he simply does it anyway, because he knows no one can/will do anything about it.

That’s the benefit of being the size of a giraffe and the greatest fighter in UFC history. You can get away with a lot. And for a divisive character as Jones, UFC fans will scrutinize and decry his winning streak as much as it takes, painfully desperate for some imaginary threat to beat him down.

But it’s not happening.

Jones isn’t just the troll king of MMA. He’s the best fighter the sport has ever had. He’s going to keep running miles with the inches he’s given by referees, and it’s very likely he’ll do so his entire career.

This is the Jon Jones that could eventually become a mega-star.

This is the Jon Jones that UFC fans deserve.

This is Jonny “Bones” Jones as he was always meant to be: cocky, unapologetic, fearless, dirty, and hated.

If this 26-year-old gives into his true nature for the bulk of his remaining career, brutally beating down overmatched challengers at their own game, the sky might honestly be the limit for his still-growing stardom.

But at the very least, you definitely can’t call Jones a “fake” anymore.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble